After having integrated Twitter to its user interface, Yahoo announced it has also entered an agreement with Facebook to cross-share content and social interaction on their respective platforms.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but what we know for a fact is that through the integration of Facebook, the latter's News Feed will be visible from the Yahoo homepage and from other Yahoo sites and services. Facebook users will be able to share their news, information and other updates directly on and from their Yahoo page. Conversely, Yahoo users will be able to share the Yahoo content they like with their friends and connections on Facebook. This follows the same logics as the earlier Yahoo-Twitter integration.
The agreement is part of Yahoo's move to create a web hub, somehow responding to Facebook's web-glue ambitions through its much hyped open-graph API and universal "like" button.
"As the place that 600 million people visit every month, Yahoo! is in a unique position to bring together different social experiences from across the Web to a single place," the company said in a blog post co-signed by Jim Stoneham, Vice President of Yahoo Communities and Cody Simms, Senior Director of Social Platforms and Yahoo Developer Network (YDN).
Here is a screenshot of what the integrated Yahoo/Facebook page will look like:
Yahoo Pulse: Privacy Addressed?
In both its statement and blog post, Yahoo anticipates on potential privacy issue criticism, brushing away any accusations of complexity or lack of transparency by launching its Yahoo Pulse one-stop dashboard for privacy settings across the whole Yahoo platform, presumably including Zynga games, Twitter and Facebook data access.
"Presumably" because unfortunately, at time of publishing, access to the Yahoo Pulse privacy platform was still unavailable so there's no real telling the look and feel of the application.
This is the response to my query on the link provided by the company:
It is interesting to note though that reports on Mashable or the Wall Street Journal are already quite upbeat and tagging Yahoo Pulse as the best answer so far to privacy issues versus Facebook and Google Buzz's respective faux pas.
Expect More Such Integrations In The Future
The Yahoo Pulse privacy dashboard yet has to prove its worth in my view but in any case, Yahoo is confident and hinted at more such integrations of third-party platforms in the future, quoting Simms in a company statement: "Starting with Facebook, we are bringing all of these elements together to give people one simple, trusted place to share information and connect. We think this offers great benefit to people across the web, and it's key to helping Yahoo! extend our reach and increase engagement."
Reboost Flagging User Engagement
Although its Yahoo Answers last month reached the 1 billionth response milestone, engagement is indeed a major issue for Yahoo. Facing decreasing user interest of late, the company has been taking a number of steps to boost attractiveness, including repositioning itself as an online content and service provider. For instance, it acquired Associated Content last month for a reported $100 Million or so.
Seed The Next Generation Of Users In Emerging Markets
With Western markets maturing, Yahoo also invested in expanding its presence in emerging markets - Asia in particular - by entering a strategic content-and-maps partnership with Nokia and by purchasing Indonesian Koprol, the equivalent of Asia's Foursquare. Yahoo's strategy is very clear on that point: it is "seeding the next generation of Yahoo users" in emerging markets.
Boost Dwell Time
Another one-time content and cross branding initiative that should bring Yahoo more 'user love' is Yahoo Search's tying-in of real-time World Cup content. As the competition is to start later this week, this offering should drive hordes of football fans to the site and glue them to their screens during working as well as off-hours around the globe. Dwell time for Yahoo is therefore expected to rise subsequently.
Search Personalization Is The Way Forward
Also as part of its overall effort to boost user engagement, Yahoo just last week named Raymie Stata as its new Chief Technology Officer, taking over from Farzad Nazem, who stepped down in April. Stata's vision is to standardize Yahoo's IT infrastructure to enable user experience personalization in a subsequent phase.
Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz herself stated at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York, that the company's bet was to focus on relevance through a unique user experience personalization around its search and other services.
Already, Yahoo and Microsoft's Bing are partnering on the search segment in an agreement called 'Search Alliance'. The aim is to combine scale "to create a competitive choice in search for advertisers and consumers" and "to improve the search user experience, as well as help advertisers get better results and help improve monetization for partners."
As reported by ClickZ, the Search Alliance has already started rolling out a survey to improve users' "search advertising experiences."
But more importantly, over to you: in order to get a personalized experience, how do you feel about tying all your Twitter and Facebook experiences into Yahoo?